My son has a chronic health condition. I was previously on intermittent FMLA but the company was recently acquired by a different company. When I approached HR about applying for FMLA, she asked if there was some way I could agree to an arrangement with my boss, like on the days I need to leave early to take my child to PT, Dr appointments, etc, could I skip lunch or stay late another day.

I was able to come up with such an agreement with my boss. However, recently we found out that along with his existing condition he also has a heart condition. I took off a day to take him to the cardiologist and upon returning to work, I was told by my supervisor to "watch my time" and that "complaints were made" by other employees. I came to find out that rather than being a complaint, someone was literally just asking where I was that day. I was so stressed out that week and upset as it was, and this just felt like my boss making a mountain of a mole hill to discourage me from taking more time off to deal with my son's health problems.

It feels very much like intimidation to me. How should i address this with my manager?

  • 5
    Did you tell your supervisor beforehand that you were taking the day off, and why? If not, your co-workers and manager had every right to wonder why you weren't at work that day. (It's not obvious from your post whether your boss, manager, and supervisor are one, two or three different people, BTW)
    – alephzero
    Feb 19, 2019 at 19:16
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    Can you please describe what FMLA means? I don’t understand the initialism. Yes, I could look it up - but responders shouldn’t have to decipher these things. Feb 19, 2019 at 19:37
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    @ChrisMelville, Family Medical Leave Act-- It's a law in the USA that allows employees to take some leave from work if they have to temporarily attend to the medical needs of family (or themselves). The law has many conditions, but the intent is to keep employers threatening the employment of workers that are caregivers to immediate family. In the US, medical insurance is effectively tied to one's employment, so losing a job could mean loss of medical insurance for oneself and dependents.
    – teego1967
    Feb 19, 2019 at 19:57
  • 2
    It's not clear to me whether your boss who came to the agreement, is the same person as your supervisor who told you to watch your time, or if that's the same person as your manager who you need to address this with. Are they one person, two people, or three people, and if so, do they all officially know about your agreement and that it's approved? If you took a day off, and your agreement is to make the time up in other ways so you aren't working less, what is your supervisor's problem with it now? Feb 19, 2019 at 20:39

3 Answers 3


If you haven't already take a look at the FMLA FAQ. This is the law in the USA so the fact that the company has changed hands doesn't matter. Under qualifying conditions it says "to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent – but not a parent “in-law”) with a serious health condition" which would seem to apply.

You do need to qualify as far as number of hours worked, and the company isn't required to pay you for time you take, but they certainly aren't allowed to harass you.

  • 49
    I agree with this, but the OP indicated she has used FMLA in the past (as such, she is likely already familiar with the rules). The problem here is that new company's HR advised her against using FMLA and instead make an informal arrangement. She trusted them and then the boss used that trust against her by pressuring her about the day off. I think the best action for her now is to use FMLA for every incident going forward. That isn't necessarily going to protect her job, but it does give some recourse if things get ugly.
    – teego1967
    Feb 19, 2019 at 19:27
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    @teego1967 I agree, I just wanted to make absolutely sure she was aware of her rights, and that any change in ownership didn't matter.
    – DaveG
    Feb 19, 2019 at 19:31
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    @teego1967 HR department advises employee to not use a legally mandated protection that is good for the employee but bad for the company... what is novel here? FMLA exists basically to protect this employee from this bad HR department. Feb 19, 2019 at 23:42
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    I would add one thing, though: OP should keep a close communication about the whereabouts with her boss. She should communicate the major changes in the evolution of the health of the child, major changes in the "rituals" of visiting medical facilities, as well as communicating as early as possible about the times when she is out of office. While I am saddened by the medical condition of the child, a business is still a business. I am sure a middle ground can be reached if there is enough will and communication between OP and company (boss and HR). +1
    – virolino
    Feb 20, 2019 at 7:27

They should not have asked you to speak with your boss about an arrangement. Being that he told you to “watch your time” means that your job could be at risk. With FMLA your job is not at risk unless you are leaving for non covered reasons.

You need to go back to your HR dept and give them the documentation for your FMLA leave and if they question why then you simple tell them In a kind way that you are CYA. Quite honestly I am shocked am hr rep from ANY company would request for you to work out anything with your boss as opposed to legal binding paper work that will cover your AND also covers their butts.
I would just tell HR that you feel that FMLA is the best route for your sons medical needs vs a verbal agreement with your boss who could be having a bad day and decide you aren’t going to leave on a day that you need to and then you lose your jobs.

All in all you need to have your FMLA done. That is the purpose of FMLA.

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    – V2Blast
    Feb 20, 2019 at 5:01
  • Thank you, I agree it was strange that she encouraged me to seek an outside agreement with my boss. I did so, and I do leave 2 hours early once a week to take my son to Physical Therapy. However, I do not ever, EVER take a lunch, and I frequently work over 8 hours on the other days of the week. Feb 20, 2019 at 16:24
  • i know some people asked if i got prior approval for missing work and yes, I did. As soon as I found out about the heart condition, I told my boss i would be looking for an appointment asap with a cardiologist, which i was able to find within a 2 week window, and told him again as soon as i knew when that appt would be (as soon as i got the appt.)... I've also been using all of my personal time for any appointments that fall outside of that one day per week where i'm allowed to leave 2 hours early. I'm not sure if I'm replying to everyone here, but I hope so!! Feb 20, 2019 at 16:25

It is not intimidation, but rather a mild warning that your pattern of absences has been noticed and is starting to cause issues. You should take that warning seriously and work with your manager to make sure that future absences are approved and that you are handling this inside of the process that your workplace has for these things.

It seems your boss has a different understanding of your agreement than you do. It is important to get back on the same page regarding this.

One thing to note on FMLA, you have to have been with your company for one year before FMLA protections kick in. If you have not been with your current company for a year they are not required to extend FMLA to cover you.

FMLA eligibility requires the following criteria: The employee must have been employed with the company for 12 months. The employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of FMLA leave. The employer is one who employs 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius of the worksite.


  • 15
    What in the OP's post causes you to question that the OP hasn't taken the "mild warning" seriously and that she hasn't explicitly followed "the process" of the company by not taking the FMLA as the company counseled her to do?
    – teego1967
    Feb 20, 2019 at 0:11
  • 14
    Why should she handle this within the process for her workplace? FMLA means she doesn't legally need to do that, she was just being nice doing so. At this point, I would recommend she stop being nice. If she's fired, she has a hell of a lawsuit she could file. One that they really can't defend against.
    – user87779
    Feb 20, 2019 at 1:34
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    She has legal entitlements she has avoided using in good faith that the company would accept her needs. The company has now acted in bad faith by threatening her (use whatever euphemism you want). She needs to assert her legal rights again as they clearly intend to give her no support at all. Feb 20, 2019 at 2:25
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    It should be noted that she is not using FMLA provisions, but an arrangement with her boss. Feb 20, 2019 at 4:42
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    It's the manager's responsibility to manage those issues. That's what a manager is for.
    – Tom W
    Feb 20, 2019 at 9:51

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